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Even if Ted Lilly eventually returns to the Dodgers rotation in the near future, adding the right-handed Blanton provides a boost to a staff that is heavy on left-handed pitchers and short on postseason experience.
Along with Lilly, staff ace Clayton Kershaw and 2012 surprise All-Star Chris Capuano are also lefties. Blanton would add balance to the rotation by providing a third right-handed option along with Chad Billingsley and Aaron Harang.
Though Blanton’s 8-9 record and 4.59 ERA don’t look very impressive, he does have a very respectable 1.19 WHIP for the year, and he’s coming off a July that was by far his best month this season, posting a 3.82 ERA with a .241 BAA and a 33:4 K/BB ratio in 35 innings pitched.
Those numbers are consistent with his splits over the past three years (2009-2011) which show that Blanton is a much better pitcher after the All-Star break (12-5 record with a 3.51 ERA, .266 BAA and 166 strikeouts in 194.2 innings) than before (10-11 record, 5.33 ERA, .293 BAA and 166 strikeouts in 217.2 innings).
Blanton has also made 10 postseason appearances since 2006—six of them starts—including being a member of the 2008 World Series champion Phillies team. The trio of Lilly, Capuano and Harang have exactly two postseason starts between them, both of which belong to Lilly (2003 with the Oakland A's and 2007 with the Chicago Cubs).
With that type of track record, along with moving to the pitcher-friendly confines of Dodgers Stadium, it looks as if Blanton gives the Dodgers a much-needed upgrade for the stretch run.